Unknown makes unloved and that also applies to the Tuin van Ruys on the Paauwlaan, which is hidden behind a high garden wall and can hardly be seen from the public road. This used to be the kitchen garden of the villa (now the home of the Brazilian ambassador) that we can see from a distance on the Backershagenlaan in the distance on a large lawn. The former vegetable garden (a national monument) was largely stripped of plants by the municipality in 2010, the garden walls were restored, as was the boiler house that was recently acquired by the Historisch Centrum Wassenaar Foundation.
The tenants of the garden have revitalized the garden. There is an orchard, bees are kept and the Nutsschool uses the garden for their school gardens. All the more reason to explain the history of this special garden here.
The site of Villa Ruys originally belonged to De Paauw and was used as a pasture.
In 1914, the Rotterdam harbor baron Daniël Ruys had a large country house built on a three-hectare plot on the newly constructed Paauwlaan designed by the architect L.J. Zaaijer. An Old Dutch garden was laid out in front of the house. To the west of this garden, perpendicular to the road, a large orangery-cum greenhouse with a raised central part with a glass dome was built in 1916. This (now demolished) orangery was heated by means of the still existing boiler house. Adjacent to the orangery, a large walled vegetable garden was laid out in 1915, with a mountain shed in the northwestern corner.
Client Daniël Ruys (1873-1952) came from a family of shipowners. He was director of the Rotterdamsche Lloyd. He married in 1920 to Zonda baroness von Haerdtl (1897-1980), a marriage that remained childless. Ruys was very interested in gardens and horticulture. It was in the family: his second cousin B. Ruys, owner of a nursery, was the father of the renowned landscape architect Mien Ruys.
Daniël Ruys and his second cousin were both members of the Dutch National Committee of the 11th International Trade Union of Professional Horticultureists in Rome in 1935. Ruys was a member of the main board and treasurer of the Wassenaar department of the Royal Dutch Society for Horticulture and Botany. Furthermore, since 1923, Ruys has been a municipal councilor and since 1935 until his resignation in 1945, he was alderman and several times deputy mayor of Wassenaar. He was also the secretary of the Wassenaarsche Bouwvereeniging for decades. In the Kerkehout district, a street name reminds us of this involved Wassenaarder.
After the death of Ruys in 1952, the house and garden were sold in January 1955 to the municipality of Wassenaar. The municipality decided in that year to rent the house to the Embassy of Brazil. Brazil bought the house in 1966. The underlying “Bos van Ruys” was added to De Paauw in 1956 and has since been opened to the public. Around that time the orangery seems to have broken down.
The western part of the garden is rented out to scouting. In the eastern part that is now open, the municipal nursery was established around 1970. The bridge over the ditch on the Paauwlaan has only been there since the early 1970s. There had never been an entrance here before. The beekeeping company of Dr. Klaas van der Poel, who is still in operation today, was established here in the eastern part. In 1988, the Nutsschool received a part of the garden for the construction of school gardens. These too are still in use.
THE GARDEN BEFORE
Various reminders of the gardens have been included in the conservation and management plan from 2009. For example, the Leidsch Dagblad of July 16, 1931 gives a report of an excursion to the garden. The vegetable gardens are then provided with vegetable beds, there is also a garden with cut flowers. You can see cacti, exotic crops, greenhouses with electric light with concrete floor, greenhouses full of cucumbers, rose cacti and moss plants. There is a large barn (probably on the northwest side, now scouting) in which the bindery is housed.
Impressive was the large dome greenhouse in three parts (the orangery annex greenhouses). One greenhouse had a rock section with moss plants and a pond with goldfish. The central part, with a glass domed roof, was in the middle provided with a rock pond with a fountain, above which a giant fern plant spread out from the ceiling. Large and small fern crops were set up here and there was a cage with blue and yellow parakeets. The third part of the orangery was a greenhouse for growing grapes.
In the 1930s, seven people and a student were working in the garden. The garden boss made sure that fresh flowers, vegetables and fruit were available all year round. Along the garden walls were slate racks for fruit trees.
Mr. N. de Rooij told his memories in December 2008: “In the Second World War he helped his father who was a market gardener. Tools, products and seeds were stored in the shed. The orangery was heated by the adjacent boiler house, which operated exclusively the orangery. The boiler was coal-fired and the boiler house also contained the coal supply. In the orangery there were orange trees in the winter, grapes were grown in the greenhouse near the orangery and seeds were grown for planting in the spring. Slate of fruit grew everywhere on the walls. There were many flat trays in the vegetable garden, in which vegetables were sown and grown in order to be planted later. The garden supplied lettuce, endive, beans, cabbage and beets. A lot was saved and ensiled. Thanks to the greenhouse there were sometimes strawberries while there was snow outside.”
Construction drawings of the buildings in the gardens have been preserved. One of the drawings shows that the floor of the boiler house was certainly one meter lower than today: a staircase went down from the outside doors.